This new and expanded volume makes vital reading. It is a devastating refutation of recent biographies of Trotsky by three British historians: Ian Thatcher, Geoffrey Swain and Robert Service. In meticulous detail, North exposes the falsifications contained in these works, which seek to continue the campaign of lies against Trotsky initiated by the Stalinist regime in the former Soviet Union. North pays particular attention to the work of Service, whose biography of Trotsky, in the words of historian Bertrand Patenaude, “fails to meet the basic standards of historical scholarship.”
The second edition contains considerable new material, including a new forward, four new chapters and two appendices. The additional material includes three lectures by North to German audiences, answering apologists for Service’s biography. The fourth chapter is an essay on the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Trotsky delivered by North at the 2010 conference of the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.
The first appendix in the new edition is the text of a joint review written by Patenaude of In Defense of Leon Trotsky and Service’s Trotsky published in the prestigious American Historical Review. The second appendix contains the text of a letter by 14 German historians to the publisher Suhrkamp Verlag opposing its publication of a German edition of the Service biography of Trotsky.
As North writes, “The defense of Trotsky’s legacy against historical falsification is an essential component of the political education of the working class and its preparations for the political demands of a new epoch of revolutionary struggle.”